Everyone reacts differently to acupuncture treatment and it may take awhile for the body to become accustomed to the effects of treatment. By tapping into the body’s Qi (translated as “energy”), we’re trying to nudge the systems (primarily nervous and vascular) back to a state of “harmony” or equilibrium. Unfortunately, in those with chronic conditions, those systems are likely stuck in the way they’ve been working for a number of years so it may take some time to correct.

During Treatment

Many patients express that they feel very strong relaxation during and after the initial treatment, however it may take a few sessions to find this intense level of relaxation.

In addition to being relaxed, some report that they feel as if their body is weightless and floating. It is equally common for patients to feel heavy, as if their body was sinking into the treatment table.

Another common reaction during treatment is to feel sensations such as soreness, slight throbbing, or numbness at/around the site of acupuncture points. This may last all throughout the treatment with different points being “active” at different times. This sensation typically disappears within a minute or two of the needles being withdrawn, but occasionally may last for a few hours or rarely a day.

Bruising occasionally occurs at the treatment site. The bruise usually disappears within days for a person with good circulation, but can last up to two weeks for those with poor circulation.

After Session Reactions (the first 24-48 hours)

The feeling of relaxation can last for hours or days. Some people report an intense burst of energy within a day after treatment. It is also common for patients to feel emotionally sensitive for a day or two post-treatment.

For patients with chronic pain, the initial pain reduction that generally occurs at the time of treatment may return within hours or days. It may take several (3-4) treatments before the pain relief is felt longer than a few days, and it will likely take at least 6-8 treatments for lasting relief.

Some patients experience increased urination after the initial acupuncture session. This typically occurs in patients with bloating and water retention. Some report changes in bowel movements. This is all very normal as acupuncture can stimulate metabolism, help eliminate toxins, and bring the body back to a state of equilibrium.

Long-term Reaction (2-4 weeks)

The symptoms of common cold may appear during the second or third week of acupuncture treatment. In Chinese medicine, an unresolved cold or flu could be the underlying cause of many health problems. These symptoms usually last for a week (or less); Chinese herbs will help to
resolve the symptoms more quickly.

Some people report the reappearance of “old” issues that were long forgotten. This is also a part of the healing process. Be sure to alert your practitioner to any and all symptoms that arise during the course of treatment.